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Agency Workers Directive delayed until 2011

Following months of speculation and uncertainty, the government has finally confirmed that it is to delay implementation of the Temporary Agency Workers Directive (TAWD) until October 2011. This is the last possible date under EU law.

The purpose of the directive is to give 'vulnerable' agency workers some of the rights of permanent workers after 12 weeks.

The trade bodies representing the industry have been lobbying the government hard. In particular, it has been said many times that professional workers, who operate through umbrella companies and have their own limited company, are not vulnerable workers, and clearly do not require the protection of TAWD.

In a statement made late last week, minister of state for employment relations and postal affairs, Pat McFadden, says...

"Last year the government secured a deal in Europe on the Agency Workers Directive that allows us to base Britain's rules on the agreement reached in the UK between the CBI and TUC.

"This allows us to implement the directive in this country in a way which gives fair treatment to agency workers and maintains labour market flexibility. It was only possible because the government is engaged in the mainstream of Europe actively influencing proposals coming from Europe, which affect the UK economy and UK workers. Careful and sometimes difficult negotiations were required to get the CBI-TUC agreement reflected in the final EU directive.

"As the Prime Minister has said, the government is committed to getting this legislation on the statute book by the end of this parliament. The law will come into force in the UK in October 2011, giving recruiters and their clients time to prepare and plan. We are also mindful of the need to avoid changing requirements on business until the economic recovery is more firmly established."

We will continue to monitor the fall out from this announcement over the coming days.

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